After having spent some time looking and reading through this book I felt the need to write a review to inform others of the disappointing flaw I found in this book. Let me first say that the series 'Art Of' books produced for the Lord of the Rings trilogy were phenomenal compilations of art work and reference images. What made those books stand out so well was the meticulous inclusion of material from characters and environments that had even the briefest of appearances on screen. This is why I was shocked to find out that 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles - Art & Design' has absolutely no inclusion of artwork or images of Erebor, Dale, Dol Guldur, or Azog the Desecrator. The omission of these environments/character may not be an issue to everyone but it certainly prevents this book from being a complete collection of what was seen in the film. I find this particularly strange with Azog considering the amount of screen time he is given. Also although Erebor will without a doubt be present in at least one of the proceeding books for the forthcoming films, it is still a major flaw not to include ANY designs or images for an element that is as visually stunning and narratively important as it is.
On the plus side though what is included in this book is a magnificently detailed look at each of Thorin's company, with most of the dwarves having at least a double page spread showing complete breakdowns of each costume, including an incredible selection of beard designs. The supporting text is, as usual with these kinds of books, extremely informative and interesting to read. I am a particularly avid fan of Weta and they never bore me with their attention to detail, so if you enjoy reading 'Art Of' books as much as looking through them then this book with not disappoint in that area. It is also nice to read some comments from the actors themselves, showing even they had a little say in the design of their respective character's appearance from concept to screen.
Other than the missing bits mentioned above, the rest of the book is filled with what you would expect to see, and this is laid out pretty much in the order that it appears chronologically in the film.
In terms of aesthetics the book itself a beautiful execution of design, especially the book face which has an interesting faux leather appearance and feel to it. A little bonus to the book is the inclusion of fold-outs of Thorin's map and the contract which are nice touches.
In conclusion 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles - Art & Design' is a fantastic book that presents the design behind the film in an excellent way, but unfortunately it falls just short of the high standard set by the books for the Lord of the Ring trilogy.
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